Tottenham Hotspur
11:45 AM UTC
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Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
ESPN+ 11:45 AM UTC
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details

Pochettino: Tottenham gave Man City 'massive gift' in opening goal

MANCHESTER -- Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino felt his side gifted Manchester City the all-important first goal in the 4-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Rampant City extended their historic winning run to 16 league games and became the first club since 1953 to beat Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs before the New Year in the same season.

City took the lead after 14 minutes when Ilkay Gundogan headed home from a corner when completely unmarked -- the third time in four matches Spurs have conceded a headed goal from a corner.

Kevin De Bruyne added a second in the 70th minute, moments after he was subject to a rash challenge from Dele Alli, and Raheem Sterling scored twice from close range before Christian Eriksen's late consolation.

Pochettino conceded that 'the better team won' but he felt Spurs made it easy for City.

"The way we conceded the first goal was a massive gift for Manchester City," Pochettino said. "It changed completely all that you compare and wanted to develop on the pitch. They are in a very good form and momentum. They are showing why they are the best in the Premier League.

"The way we concede the first goal was a massive mistake for us and when you play against teams like Manchester City if you concede after 15 minutes a goal like this, come on!"

Mauricio Pochettino, right, was upset his team gave Man City the opening goal.

Pochettino, though, was eager to look for positives and described the thrashing, which leaves his team 21 points behind City, as "an unbelievable experience" that Spurs must learn from.

"For me, you can take some positives from the unbelievable experience for the team to realise that to play for the Premier League we need to improve, we need to learn, to work harder than before and of course we play again today a team that has a lot of quality," he said.

Pochettino refused to comment on Alli after another abject display from the two-time PFA Young Player of the Year, who was lucky to escape a red card for his challenge on De Bruyne.

"Look, I am not going to talk about individuals, about names, today because I think it's unfair. I think the most important is our collective performance wasn't how we expect and I think we were poor," the Argentine added.

"We cannot assess individual performances after 4-1, I think we need to be calm and talk and next week try to be better.

"We need to improve, we need to learn from this situation. Today was a very good example to see a team that believe, has quality, has strength and is in very good form. There is nothing to say, they deserve the victory -- completely."

Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.


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